Yamato California, Minatomachi, Chronicle of the After-School Wars, Liverleaf, The Bastard and the Beautiful World, Call Boy, Too Unbelievable of a Woman: Defendant Yoshie, father kanbojia he shiawase o todoketa goccahn shinpu no monogatari, The Werewolf Game: Inferno, I Will Never Forgive, Ninagawa Yukio Theatre 2 “Ninagawa MacBeth”, Gekijouban Servamp: Alice in the Garden Japanese Film Trailers

Hello, dear readers.

Only Yesterday Film Image 2

A bit of a subdued opening to this week’s trailer post because of the death of Isao Takahata at the age of 82. This is a sad moment because he was a true creative genius. Anyone familiar with his films and TV shows will know that, as well as founding Ghibli and supporting artists, he was a groundbreaking artist himself and pushed boundaries. Look at the difference in style and story from his directorial debut The Little Norse Prince to the heartbreaking Grave of the Fireflies and his last film, Princess Kaguya. My personal favourite is Only Yesterday which, despite my best resistance, got me crying floods of tears at the end. Pom Poko was another that broke through my defences but the most potent was Grave. I cannot watch that film again. It broke me the first time. I sincerely hope Takahata has found peace and his family find comfort in this trying time.

This week saw me post about the Japan Film Festival Ireland and Mari Okada visiting the UK.

What’s released this weekend?

Yamato California    

大和(カリフォルニア)  Yamato (Kariforunia)   

Running Time: 75 mins.

Director: Daisuke Miyazaki

Writer: Daisuke Miyazaki (Screenplay)

Starring: Hanae Kan, Nina Endo, Reiko Kataoka, Mayumi Kato, Shuya Nishiji, Haruka Uchimura,


I watched Daisuke Miyazaki’s film at last year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival and was impressed by this coming-of-age tale that combines Hip-Hop and international politics and getting great performances from his actors. Here’s my review! I saw his follow-up, TOURISM at Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018 and enjoyed it just as much. Here’s my review on V-Cinema.

Synopsis from the Osaka Asian Film Festival SiteSakura is a moody teenage girl living close to the US military base in the city of Yamato, a town north of Tokyo. She wants to become a musician like the American rappers she admires, but is held back by stage-fright when faced with performing in front of a live audience. Then she meets Rei, the half-Japanese half-American daughter of her mother’ s American soldier boyfriend. Rei has flown from California to visit for the summer. Sakura dislikes her immediately, but Rei’ s familiarity with American Hip Hop becomes a bridge between the two girls as they spend an unforgettable time together exploring, arguing over and bonding through the mix of Japanese and American culture in the unique landscape of Yamato. Though their adventures and quarrels may lead Sakura into danger, they may also let her face her fears and participate in the city’s music competition.

Minatomachi   Seto Inland Sea Film Poster

 港町 Minatomachi

Running Time: 122 mins.

Release Date: April 07th, 2018

Director:  Kazuhiro Soda

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

IMDB     Website

This one was at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival.

Synopsis: Documentarian Kazuhiro Soda has been touring around the world based on films like The Oyster Factory (2015). Here, he brings his camera to the fishing village of Ushimado on the coast between Honshu and Shikoku. It is famous for being the place Shohei Imamura shot two features but now it has an ageing population but fishermen and fish-traders who tour the village and knows the local’s habits and lives. With insiders leading the way, including the film’s producer Kiyoko Kashiwagi whose family hails from the village, many tales emerge.

Chronicle of the After-School Wars   Chronicle of the After-School Wars Film Poster

放課後戦記 Houkago Senki

Running Time: 115 mins.

Release Date: April 07th, 2018

Director: Junpei Tsuchida

Writer: Junpei Tsuchida, Hidetsune Momohara (Screenplay)

Starring: Miori Ichikawa, Nina Endo, Narumi Akizuki, Ririka, Misa Kubota, Moeka Koizumi, Arisa Komiya,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Sena Kadowaki (Miori Ichikawa) is an ordinary teenager plunged into a world of madness when she is trapped after hours in her school and forced to take part in death games. Without a working cellphone and with no way to escape, Sena has to fight a horde of other school girls to survive!

Liverleaf   Liverleaf Film poster

ミスミソウ Misumisou

Running Time: 114 mins.

Release Date: April 07th, 2018

Director: Eisuke Naito

Writer: Miako Tadano (Screenplay), Rensuke Oshikiri (Original Manga)

Starring: Anna Yamada, Hiroya Shimizu, Rinka Otani, Rena Ohtsuka, Aki Morita, Kenshin Endo, Arisa Sakura, Minori Terada,

Website IMDB

Rensuke Oshikiri is the creator of the popular manga Hi Score Girl, a fun comedy. This one is decidedly more serious. A revenge drama using the theme of school bullying, it is directed by Eisuke Naito, the guy who did Puzzle  and Sharing, a film I really want to see. Like, really, really, really.

Synopsis: Haruka Nozaki (Anna Yamada) has moved from Tokyo to a school in some backwater town. She is the victim of bullying which escalates to her house being burnt down and her family being burnt alive. She has an emotional breakdown and takes revenge…

The Bastard and the Beautiful World    Kuso yaro to utsukushiki sekai Film Poster

クソ野郎と美しき世界 Kuso yaro to utsukushiki sekai

Running Time: 105 mins.

Release Date: April 06th, 2018

Director: Sion Sono, YuichiKodama, Hikari Ota, Kenji Yamauchi

Writer: Sion Sono, Yuichi Kodama, Hikari Ota, Kenji Yamauchi (Screenplay),

Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Machiko Ono, Fumika Baba, Goro Inagaki, Shingo Katori, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Megumi Kagurazaka, Hirofumi Arai,

Website IMDB

Synopsis from IMDB: The Bastard and the Beautiful World is an omnibus film consisting of four episodes. (1) Fujiko is running as fast as she can, being chased after by a creepy masked man called Mad Dog. They meet a talented pianist on the way. (2) A mysterious relationship between a little girl, Utagui, who eats songs to live, and an artist who can’t sing anymore. (3) A married couple sets off on a journey to find the right arm of their dead son. They finally reached a beach in Okinawa and find…? (4) Bastards comes together on a night dance floor for a show.

Call Boy    Call Boy Film Poster

娼年 Shonen

Running Time: 119 mins.

Release Date: April 06th, 2018

Director: Daisuke Miura

Writer: Daisuke Miura (Screenplay), Ira Ishida (Original Novel)

Starring: Tori Matsuzaka, Sei Matobu, Ami Tomite, Kenta Izuka, Yuki Sakurai, Erika Mabuchi, Kokone Sasaki, Kyoko Enami, Ruri Shinato,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Ryo Morinaka (Tori Matsuzaka) is a university student who works part-time at a bar. He’s bored with his daily existence but when he gets work at a host club he finds a new challenge: to discover the passions of the clients and to fulfil them.

Too Unbelievable of a Woman: Defendant Yoshie   Too Unbelievable of a Woman Defendant Yoshie Film Poster

ありえなさ過ぎる女 被告人よしえ Arienasa Sugiru Onna: Hikokunin Yoshie

Running Time: 83 mins.

Release Date: April 07th, 2018

Director: Masayuki Kitamura

Writer: Kenji Ishihara (Screenplay),

Starring: Akie Asaka, Kaoru Mitsumune, Masaki Nishina, Hiromitsu Takeda, Yuho Matsui, Narumi, Takashi Fujii, Kazuyuki Aijima,


Synopsis: Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Sensational story of a woman who killed three handsome and rich men!

When middle-aged woman Yoshie Sano (Akie Asaka) is arrested on suspicion of murder, her version of events shocks the world. Could it be true that all three men were in love with her and one killed the other two and then himself? The truth will be revealed in this film!

The Werewolf Game: Inferno    The Werewolf Game Inferno Film Poster

人狼ゲーム インフェルノ Jinro Ge-mu Inferuno

Running Time: 85 mins.

Release Date: April 07th, 2018

Director: Shinya Ayabe

Writer: Shinya Ayabe (Screenplay), Ryo Kawakami (Original novel & screenplay)

Starring: Rena Takeda, Yuka Ogura, Yuuka Ueno, Ukyo Matsumoto, Tokito, Kento Hiramatsu, Sayaka Tomaru, Akane Kaida,


Synopsis: Hiromi (Rena Takeda) is a normal teenage girl plunged into a world of madness and violence… wait… didn’t I already write this for another film? This is a death game movie where high schoolers fight for survival and Hiromi is the wolf they are trying to track down in this game.

father kanbojia he shiawase o todoketa goccahn shinpu no monogatari    father kanbojia he shiawase o todoketa goccahn shinpu no monogatari Film Poster

father カンボジアへ幸せを届けた ゴッちゃん神父の物語 father kanbojia he shiawase o todoketa goccahn shinpu no monogatari

Running Time: 95 mins.

Release Date: April 07th, 2018

Director: Kou Watanabe

Writer: N/A

Starring: Fumio Goto,


Synopsis: Fumio Goto (Go-chan) was born in 1929 in Nagaoka City, Nigata Prefecture. The son of a temple priest, he turned to Catholicism and became a Catholic priest. Since then, he has spent time helping the people of Cambodia including looking after the children of Cambodian refugees and building schools. At the time of filming this documentary in 2015, he was 86 and this was considered his last trip to Cambodia.

I Will Never Forgive   I Will Never Forgive Film Poster

私は絶対許さない Watashi wa zettai yurusanai

Running Time: 119 mins.

Release Date: April 07th, 2018

Director: Hideki Wada

Writer: Hisako Kurosawa (Screenplay), Yoko Yukimura (Original Novel)

Starring: Chiaki Hiratsuka, Kanako Nishikawa, Shiro Sano, Jun Miho, Kazuki Tomokawa, Kazuko Shirakawa, Daisuke Ryu,

Website IMDB

Rape is one of the most difficult subjects to tackle so this film has the potential to be a disaster. The director, Hideki Wada, is a trained psychologist and he was so shocked after reading Yoko Yukimura’s non-fiction novel, he decided to make this film about how trauma can warp a person and tell it from the point-of-view of the victim.

Please visit the website to find out more about the background of this film. There is an English language version.

Synopsis: 15-year-old junior high school girl, Yoko, is raped by five men. Far from being comforted or helped, she is disregarded by her peers or spoken ill of as a “dirty” girl while her parents and the police are of no help whatsoever. She falls in with the step-father of one of the rapists who offers her money for sex and Yoko agrees because her character has changed. She has discarded dreams of being a teacher or a nurse and has chosen to get money for sex whilst also suffering an eating disorder and slitting her wrists. Even after moving to Tokyo and marriage, she struggles to find a way forward and sex and violence plague her…

Ninagawa Yukio Theatre 2 “Ninagawa MacBeth”   Ninagawa Yukio Theatre 2 Ninagawa MacBeth Film Poster

蜷川幸雄シアター2NINAGAWA・マクベス」 Ninagawa Yukio Shiata- 2 “Ninagawa Makubesu

Running Time: 146 mins.

Release Date: April 07th, 2018

Director: Yukio Ninagawa

Writer: William Shakespeare (Original Play)

Starring: Masachika Ichimura, Yuko Tanaka, Yuya Yagira, Satoshi Hashimoto, Kotaro Yoshida, Tetsuro Sagawa,


Synopsis: Three of Ninagawa’s plays are going to be screened in cinemas in order to remember the great theatre/film director who died in 2016. This is his ‘cherry blossom’ Macbeth which set the play in 16th-Century Japan. His work toured the UK and got glowing plaudits from critics so, to get a feel for the play, read this review from thestage.co.uk.

Gekijouban Servamp: Alice in the Garden    Gekijouban Servamp Alice in the Garden Film Poster

劇場版 SERVAMP サーヴァンプ Alice in the Garden Gekijouban SERVAMP Sa-banpu Alice in the Garden

Running Time: 59 mins.

Release Date: April 07th, 2018

Director:  Hideaki Nakano

Writer: Ayumu Hisao (Screenplay), Strike Tanaka (Original Creator)

Starring: Takuma Terashima (Mahiru Shirota), Yuuko Kaji (Kuro), Atsumi Tanezaki (Otogiri), Ayaka Nanase (Yuri), Mai Nakahara (Mysterious Girl),

Animation Production: Platinum Vision

Website ANN MAL

The film’s story is about Misono Alicein’s past.

Synopsis for the original manga: When a stray black cat named Kuro crosses Mahiru Shirota’s path, the high school freshman’s life will never be the same again. Kuro is, in fact, no ordinary feline, but a servamp: a servant vampire. While Mahiru’s personal philosophy is one of non-intervention, he soon becomes embroiled in an ancient, altogether surreal conflict between vampires and humans.

6 thoughts on “Yamato California, Minatomachi, Chronicle of the After-School Wars, Liverleaf, The Bastard and the Beautiful World, Call Boy, Too Unbelievable of a Woman: Defendant Yoshie, father kanbojia he shiawase o todoketa goccahn shinpu no monogatari, The Werewolf Game: Inferno, I Will Never Forgive, Ninagawa Yukio Theatre 2 “Ninagawa MacBeth”, Gekijouban Servamp: Alice in the Garden Japanese Film Trailers

    1. To me it’s like Schindler’s List in the sense that you have to see it at least once but you wouldn’t necessarily watch it again unless there was a specific purpose. If someone were watching it or wanted to watch it, then I would probably join in. I just vividly remember feeling utterly devastated at the end.

    1. Haha, I get that sentiment. The synopsis is slight. We’ll have to watch the film to see if there’s any substance to the film or if it’s just Tori Matsuzaka getting a parade of beautiful women and a guy.

  1. I just heard about Isao the other day, it’s so sad. I loved Only Yesterday, that film was so great and it was full of rich emotion. Yamato California seems like an interesting film, I’m always interested in films that involve music.

    1. Yeah, it’s a big loss for the animation world. Takahata made a small number of films but they are all so different story-wise, stylistically, and thematically. What holds them all together is how much care is put into the characters. Only Yesterday is a case in point. You just totally understand the main character.

      Yamata (California) is pretty enjoyable with great music and the growth of the main character is engaging and makes it fulfilling to watch.

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